Pineapple Fields Forever
UOG graduating senior, Apiken Irons holds a pineapple in the fields at Valley of the Latte. Irons was one of the winners of the pineapple challenge in Professor Robert Bevacqua’s Introduction to Plant Science class. Photo Credit: Olympia Terral.
University of Guam students in Robert Bevacqua’s agriculture class, Introduction to Plant Science, have experienced a unique service-learning opportunity. Students applied sustainable, eco-friendly technology to solve a real-world problem, pineapple propagation. In partnership with Valley of the Latte, students developed a pineapple planting strategy for the pineapple farm at this popular tourist destination.
With a bit of competitive camaraderie, students vied for the title of “Best Pineapple Propagator.” Each student took an unproductive pineapple plant stump and applied different approaches to developing as many plantlets as possible. Tropical agriculture major Michael Marasco was the overall winner propagating ten plantlets from one stump.
Business major, Apiken Irons came in second with her experiment of planting the plantlets in three soil types. Irons took the class to fulfill a general education requirement and ended up a winner! She is a graduating senior.
The Valley of the Latte has worked with UOG on several agricultural projects. They assisted in a wing bean variety study to help discover a hybrid wing bean that can grow year-round. They have also partnered with UOG and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to inform their natural resource conservation practices like drip irrigation technology to prevent wasting water and planting wind-break trees to prevent chemicals and pesticides from getting into the river.
Valley of the Latte has recently been nominated for a Pacific Asian Tourist Association (PATA) award for cultural tourism. “The announcement of the winner will be in October,” said David Tydingco, managing director, “but whether Valley of the Latte wins or not, it is a great honor to have been nominated.” UOG archeology students have also conducted studies of the latte and other artifacts found at Valley of the Latte.
Partnerships between the University and the community enrich the educational opportunities for UOG students and enhance the quality of life for the island.